TIRANA -- Albania says it has arrested a Tajik citizen sought by Germany for suspected membership in a cell of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
The announcement on April 30 comes two weeks after German authorities announced they had detained five Tajik nationals suspected of forming an IS cell that plotted attacks on German soil. Two individuals in the cell were alleged to have traveled to Albania with plans to carry out a contract killing.
Albanian police said on April 30 that the country’s Antiterror Directorate arrested a 24-year-old Tajik national, identified only as K.Z., in a joint operation with Interpol.
A statement said the detained is subject to an international arrest warrant issued on April 21 by a federal court in Karlsruhe, Germany.
It said the suspect is accused of being a member of a “terrorist cell” in Germany that had been set up to carry out violent acts on behalf of the IS group.
The case was referred to prosecutors in the capital, Tirana, in order to carry out further legal procedures for the detainee’s extradition.
A news website in Albania identified the suspect as Komrom Zukhurov and said he was detained in Tirana late on April 29. It also posted a photo of the man.
The suspect is said to be part of the same group whose members were detained in Germany earlier this month for allegedly planning attacks, including on U.S. Air Force bases in the country and an unidentified individual they deemed critical of Islam.
German prosecutors said four of the suspects -- all from Tajikistan -- were arrested on April 15 in the city of Siegen and in the towns of Heinsberg and Werdohl in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The fifth suspect, also a Tajik national believed to be the leader of the terror cell, was already in custody after being detained in March 2019. The men are all aged between 24 and 32, and came to Germany as refugees.
The men joined IS in January 2019 and were instructed by the IS group to form a cell in Germany, prosecutors said.
They said the attacks were not planned for the immediate future but that the group had already acquired firearms and ammunition, as well as secured directions and precursors for making a bomb from the Internet.
To help finance the terror plans, prosecutors said the ringleader, identified as Ravshan B., and another suspect traveled to Albania to carry out a $40,000-contract killing, but the operation fell apart and they returned to Germany, the statement added.
The men are alleged to have been in contact with two high-ranking IS figures in Syria and Afghanistan.
In recent years, Germany has seen several terrorist attacks claimed by IS, including a truck rampage through a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016 that left 12 people dead.